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You know what, I love these guides (well, someone has to say it!).
Just having an expert hand to steer you to the right books for Christmas really helps, and the women in Mostly Books who’ve chosen the Top 10 books for kids 7ish-12ish really know their stuff. If you’re looking for stocking fillers, go fill those boots with this lot.
Dragons at Crumbling Castles by Terry Pratchett
Fourteen hilarious short stories in one book, this takes you on a journey from King Arthur’s castle when dragons take over, to a bus that manages to travel back in time- while the customers were still on board!
The Muddy Top 10 guide to picture books for little people, as recommended by Woodstock Books. A feast of good reading… well, and looking at pictures. And very lovely ones, too.
Orlando The Marmalade Cat: A Camping Holiday by Katherine Hale
A new generation can discover the charms of Orlando the marmalade cat, first published 70 years ago, with this very welcome reissue of a much-loved author.
There can only be one winner – and now the decision will be who to take with you for a night at Champneys Tring: a lovely room, delicious meals, two treatments each, and a whole heap of relaxing.
So, I’ve reached into the hat and pulled out the lucky, lucky Muddy Herts reader who will be checking in to Champneys in the new year. It’ll be the perfect antidote to all this Christmas craziness.
Winter is all about bundling up, right? Lots of scarves, gloves, thick tights. I quite like it, to be honest. Takes the pressure off a bit, and those lumps and bumps can be blamed on scrunched-up layers rather than on a complete lack of restraint regarding the biscuit tin.
And with all these frosty mornings and rainy days mean that anything with ‘hot’ in the name immediately has my undivided attention: hot chocolate, hot toddy, hot date – I’m there.
I actually managed two amazing things the other day. First, I persuaded my husband to take half a day off work and come out for lunch with me – and second, I bagged what I think was probably the last available table at The Fox and Hounds in Hunsdon. A food-loving friend of mine had recommended the Fox and Hounds a while ago, so I was looking forward to eating there – and, of course, to sneaking in a rare child-free hour or two with my husband at the same time.
Lots to do out and about this week — even some little thing called Christmas popping up in there too. If you’re looking to get out of the house and take yourself or your loved ones — or maybe even your family — for a treat, there’s plenty to choose from. And lots of it’s fab.
Edward Scissorhands, Sadlers Wells, 2 Dec – 11 Jan
Matthew Bourne’s production of Edward Scissorhands has been getting five-star reviews across the board – and would make a spectacular alternative to more traditional Christmas trips to the ballet.
Much to my disappointment, I’ve not made it over to the New Theatre in Oxford yet to check out the production that’s on there of Dirty Dancing. Lucky for you, Hero from the Bucks and Oxon Muddy Stilettos has — she’s good like that — and, funnily enough, she found plenty to write about. I’ve had a look at the pics, and I just can’t imagine what caught her attention. Over to you, Hero….
What to do this week, in between all those Christmas parties? Look no further – here’s this week Muddy Herts Guide! Bit of shopping, spot of culture, and some lovely things to eat and drink – all sounds good to me.
Miss Havisham’s Expectations, Trafalgar Studios, 10 Dec — 3 Jan
Lynne Marlow – award-winning actress and newest member of the Eastenders cast (but don’t hold that against her) – is appearing, as of Wednesday, in her one-woman show ‘Miss Havisham’s Expectations’ at the Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall.
When I used to live in Canada, there was something really magical about grabbing a pair of skates and heading to the local park to skate on the ponds once the ice was thick enough. I really fell in love with outdoor skating, so I’m always delighted when the Christmas ice rinks start opening up every year. I’m not elegant by any means – don’t be expecting any triple Salchows or toe loops – but I’m always happy to spend an afternoon pottering around on the ice.
I’m not going to do any of those lame panto jokes (oh yes I am – oops!).
I’ve always loved a good panto — probably more than my kids do, to be honest– and will happily spending as long you like booing the baddies and cheering when the fairy godmother flies in. I’ve put together a definitive list of all the best pantos and Christmas shows locally and further afield, so you can choose which Widow Twanky, Buttons or D-list celeb you prefer…
Cinderella, Hertford Theatre, 6 Dec – 31 Jan
Ooo, ooo, I know this one!